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Participation and Inclusion

Page last updated: 03/06/2020

​​The Inclusion and Participation Team are part of the central SEND Strategy and Innovation team. 

Young people have defined participation as "Opportunities to be part of decisions that are important to you which may lead to changes". 

Our purpose is to increase the opportunities for children, young people and their families to be part of decision making and be an important part in helping to shape the Essex offer to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability. This includes choices and decisions about their own lives, their local community and also at a strategic level within Essex. 

Our team links closely with the Essex Family Forum, the Multi-Schools Council and the Youth Service 'SEND Young Commissioners'.  We also are developing and growing the Essex Local Offer to be a valuable way of signposting and supporting young people and their families to better understand what is available in Essex. 

The Multi-Schools Council (MSC) 

“Removing barriers, uniting differences, creating equality"

The MSC is gaining momentum and strength and now has almost 300 schools signed up. The children and young people meet termly in local districts to understand the lived experiences of each other, to plan and discuss ways to get involved and to help make changes in local services.

Recent successes include the 'All Stand Strong'​ song, a Mental Health programme, working with the CCG to explain diabetes, a fiction book for all Essex primary schools and the MSC inclusive football team. Email to find out the dates and locations for the termly meetings - all schools are encouraged to attend. 

Small Great Things (SGT)

SGT is a child-led initiative supported by adults in the setting. SGT is a small act that makes a massive difference for someone else. 

The Small Great Things initiative relates to the 'making reasonable adjustments duty' in relation to the following legislation:

  • Equality Act 2020
  • Essex Accessibility Strategy
Most steps or changes to not cost anything. We can all make small changes in what we do and how we act. We do not always need to buy expensive pieces of equipment or hire extra staff to make a difference to others.

To find out more, or to arrange an introductory SGT workshop, visit the Essex Local Offer​ website.

Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool (POET) 

The POET survey helps us to understand people's views of:
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) support (also known as 'One Planning')
  • Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) support
  • the difference the help makes to children and young people
There are three surveys available, for children and young people, parents and carers and practitioners. The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and can be completed once a year, any time during that year. It helps us understand what people think about:
  • the quality and type of additional help children and young people receive
  • how the support helps children and young people to develop and become more independent
  • how children and their families are included in planning support
  • whether people know the outcomes for children and young people and are happy with the progress towards them
  • what is and isn't working for children, young people and their families
It is important that we understand people's experiences of support. The feedback will help improve services, based on what matters to families and practitioners. We will work with young people, settings and practitioners in health, education and social care to respond to the feedback received. 

Further information can be found on the Essex Local Offer​ website, where you will be able to:
  • complete the survey
  • find out further information, including survey results
  • access resources, such as an animation and poster

SEND Young Commissioners

A ten week programme delivered in Post 16 settings and colleges by the Essex Youth Service to understand and learn how to become a SEND Young commissioner and take on the challenge of a piece of commissioning. Now in it's third cycle.

Annual Reviews: What's Your Story?

An appreciative inquiry looking into the key factors that make an annual review positive, productive and purposeful to everyone – the young person, their family, their support network and the local authority. Young people contributed in Stage 1 through active workshops to share their views and suggestions for change. Stage 2 of the project is about to launch with young people about to design the evaluation, learn what difference the changes are making to the lived experience of children and their families and to share this learning across clusters.

Good Practice Seekers

Good Practice Seekers are children and young people who have taken part in a training programme and created an inspection checklist to identify good practice across Essex schools and provide recommendations for improvements to SEND provision. Working together with the Multi Schools Council, our Good Practice Seekers have carried out their first four school inspection visits. They are now busy writing up their reports and recommendations. In January 2020, the schools received their report and certificates with a maximum 5 Gold Star rating for meeting SEND needs and inclusion​